The Austin City Limits Music Festival schedule is a thing of beauty. But also: That’s a lot of bands. Our music critics pored over the 2016 lineup and handpicked their dream schedule for each day of the fest’s first weekend.
11:30 a.m. Bayonne (Miller Lite): The recent EDM boom has been reflected in both ACL Fest lineups and the local scene, though Bayonne mastermind Roger Sellers pushes the boundaries of the genre, true to Austin’s innovative spirit.
12:30 p.m. Nakia & the Barton Hills Choir (Austin Kiddie Limits): No less an authority than “Choral Director” magazine just dubbed BHC “the coolest elementary show choir ever.” Find out why at their annual ACL-kickoff-day set.
1 p.m. Jess Glynne (Cirrus Logic): It’s hard to resist the buoyant, beat-driven pop of this rising star from the U.K., whose 2015 Atlantic Records debut “I Cry When I Laugh” made her a big star in her home country after collaborations with electronic act Clean Bandit first turned heads.
4 p.m. Maren Morris (BMI): Given that she’s up for four Country Music Association awards for her major-label debut “Hero,” you’d think Morris would warrant a larger stage placement than this. Stake out a spot early at the comparatively intimate BMI stage for this one.
5 p.m. Cold War Kids (Cirrus Logic): The SoCal indie-rock band’s decade-long output has been spotty, and they haven’t had a new record since 2014’s “Hold My Home.” But they’ve made a splash at SXSW several times, so they’re worth a shot.
6 p.m. Corinne Bailey Rae (Tito’s): Like Maren Morris, the British R&B singer-songwriter seems placed on a surprisingly small stage, given that she’s won two Grammys. The tent should be jammed with longtime fans eager to hear songs from “The Heart Speaks in Whispers,” her first album in six years.
7 p.m. Band of Horses (Miller Lite): If you weren’t lucky enough to win the ticket lottery for their Sunday taping of KLRU’s “Austin City Limits” TV show, catch the South Carolina folk-rockers in this slot, with tunes from their acclaimed new album “Why Are You OK” in the spotlight.
8 p.m. Radiohead (Samsung): The legions of HeadHeads have been awaiting this one for a long time. Their two Friday headline slots at ACL Fest are the final U.S. dates on their tour to support the new album “A Moon Shaped Pool.”
DEBORAH SENGUPTA STITH
11:30 a.m. Bayonne (Miller Lite): Loop pedal artists are a dime a dozen these days, but Roger Sellers has the high-minded artistic sensibility of a classical composer. Watching him weave rhythm and melody into complex musical ideas is mesmerizing.
12:15 p.m. Los Coast (Tito’s): A summery blend of heady psychedelics and soul.
1 p.m. Raury (HomeAway): The 20-year-old Atlanta rapper is leading a gospel-drenched peace revolution propelled by urgently danceable, but surprisingly hooky, hip-hop and pop fusion.
2 p.m. Banks & Steelz (Samsung): In this rock/rap collab, the plaintive melodies of Interpol’s Paul Banks aren’t always a great foil for RZA’s brutal rhyme-slinging, but the Wu-Tang emcee throws down hard enough to make it worth a listen.
3:30 p.m. Bombino (Tito’s): Tuareg artist Omara Moctar is emerging as one of the grand guitar masters of his generation, making him a must-see for folks who really appreciate six-string wizardry.
5 p.m Tory Lanez (HomeAway): The suddenly famous R&B/rap hot shot leans heavily on his backing track in live shows, but his acrobatic stage antics make it almost acceptable.
6 p.m. Flying Lotus (Samsung) vs. Die Antwoord (Honda): One of our generation’s great avant jazz innovators or a weirdo art-punk, hip-hop act from South Africa? My toughest conflict of the fest.
8:30 p.m. Major Lazer (Honda): Yes, Diplo’s traveling carnival of vice splits the difference between a bacchanalian dancehall happening and a bro-tastic throw down with ample explicit inflatables weighting it toward the latter, but I legit don’t get Radiohead.
11:30 a.m. VHS Collection (HomeAway): It is, in my experience, best to begin your fest days with shimmery dance rock. Goes down smooth.
1 p.m. Frightened Rabbit (Miller Lite): Ain’t no fear in this Scottish band’s unflinchingly honest lyrics, which bounce caustic observations on death, sex and religion off snappy rock rhythms (see “Holy” and “Keep Yourself Warm” for examples). Everything sounds more raw with a brogue.
2 p.m. The Front Bottoms (Honda): We’ve been denied a true pop-punk act this year, so go get disaffected with these champs of witty slackerism. Brian Sella’s voice might be an acquired taste, fair warning.
3 p.m. Chairlift (Cirrus Logic): If all you know is “Bruises” and you were kind of meh on that particular Apple jingle, listen to the runway-ready “Moth To the Flame.” I’ll meet you at the stage.
5 p.m. St. Lucia (Miller Lite): It is rare indeed that I will create a playlist without a single St. Lucia song, because I try to practice self-care tactics whenever possible. Get drunk on lush, romantic, anthemic electropop, and watch Jean-Philip Grobler get sweaty. (Miller Lite)
7 p.m. M83 (Cirrus Logic): The French dreamweavers aren’t really the same band that gifted the movie trailer industry with gigantic narcotic “Midnight City” anymore, but there’s still plenty of neon splendor to go around on new songs like “Go!” (Cirrus Logic)